Forest dept inundated with hoax calls on Jumbo scare
The employees of the state forest department working at North Bengal and Bankura are tired of getting hoax call from people about elephants entering their places.
Recently, wild elephants had entered localities in Bankura and Siliguri causing severe damage to human property and killing 6 people in past 15 days. This had caused panic among the people and they were making frantic calls to forest department officials anticipating fresh attacks. The elephant that took two lives and caused extensive damage to human property was tranquilised before being released at Sukna forest.
In view of elephants coming to human habitat frequently, plans have been chalked out by the Centre and the State government. The Centre has decided to reduce the speed of trains that runs between New Jalpaiguri and Assam. The railway tracks will be brightly illuminated to prevent elephants from being run over. The State government has proposed to install radio collars which will help tracking the elephants a lot easier.
Senior officials of the state forest department said that the main reason behind elephants coming to the human habitat was deforestation. They maintained that the elephant in Siliguri which had been tranquilised was severely injured after curious people threw stones and brick bats at it. “Animal-human confrontation is nothing new but a better understanding of the animals allows them to live peacefully,” a senior official remarked.
Forest officials from North Bengal said that they had received a number of calls in last few days with the villagers saying that an elephant had entered their villages, while some others said that they heard people saying that en elephant had entered into the locality. But when the forest department officials reached the spot they found that there were no elephants after conducting a thorough search. On returning to their office, they again kept getting fake calls. Forest officials are now puzzled on how to deal with the situation. It may be mentioned that on February 10, a wild elephant that strayed from Baikunthanagar forest and entered Siliguri had caused extensive damage in the city. On February 12, a middle aged man was killed and four others were injured in Siliguri when another wild animal ran amok in Siliguri and adjacent villages.
A senior forest official Belakoba forest range said: “We are having sleepless nights. People are calling at the office day and night saying that elephants had entered into their villages. We are getting nearly 50 such fake calls daily. We are now helpless and don’t know how to deal with the situation.”